CryptoRuthenia Proclaimed at First Ever Bitcoin Meetup in Belarus
21 April 2016 became an important day for Belarus. At the instigation of Valery Litvin, one of Cyber.Fund’s developers and bitcoin enthusiast, the country’s first-ever Bitcoin & Blockchain Meetup Minsk was held. The event saw in excess of 100 attendees with only 60 reserved seats, which had confirmed the issue was of importance for residents of Belarus’s capital. The following is an exclusive report for ForkLog from Valentin Pivovarov, one of the conference’s attendees.
The event was attended by representatives for Belarus’s Central Bank and insurers, as well as coders and cryptocurrency investors. Also attending were experts from Ukraine, namely Mike Chobanyan, Andrei Dubetski, and Sergei Skabelkin (co-founder of FinTech Cluster Ukraine). Legal experts from lexnet.io, Valentin Pivovarov, Nestor Dubnevych, Dmitri Guz and Natalia Bratashova, also attended the conference. Russian bitcoin community was represented by Alex Fork. Dmitri Voronin, an expert from China, covered technical aspects of cryptocurrency operation. Most attendees arrived immediately after conference Digital Banking held a few hours earlier. There they reported on cryptocurrencies and blockchain technology before bankers.
Attendees had to go through several quests before arriving. Trail orienteering on the way to EventSpace, where the conference was held, was one of the simplest tasks they had to go through. There were issues concerning BelToll, as many guests found themselves fallen for toll roads. Mike Chobanyan had to execute the drive-through contract for so long he was nearly late for the events, even though he arrived the day before.
Lexnet.io experts were in such a haste, they had no time to buy an onboard unit, and so they were caught red-handed by highway officers in shining armor. Anyway, is 200 Euro penalty so crucial compared to attendance of Bitcoin & Blockchain Meetup?
One of the surprises was the fact that Belarusian and Ukrainian customs officers turned out to be crypto-savvy. They not only were aware of the event, but also were wondering about bitcoin’s perspectives and enquiring after recent price fluctuations.
The event’s speakers have gathered very different people in the room, starting from young designers, developers and miners, and ending with aged people who just happened to be interested in cryptotechnologies. The event has gathered representatives of relevant communities from Belarus, Ukraine and Russia.
The best compliment to the organizers is, probably, the feedback. Almost anyone of them managed to know something new, and, moreover, realized what it is like to be among people seizing each other’s words at once.
The meetup’s initiator, Valery Litvin, kicked off the event with a report on how blockchain will change the world and “shift the paradigm”.
Newbies found out about what bitcoin was, how mining is carried out, and how transactions are recorded on the blockchain. For more experienced guests, the event covered such trending technologies as the Internet of Things, robotics, game development, and the role cryptocurrencies play in their evolution by providing yet unseen degree of freedom and trust.
Decentralized autonomous organizations, prediction markets, crowdfunding platforms and other Ethereum-based projects that Litvin talked about seemed to impress everyone. Following the introductory speech, guests started discussing present-day issues of cryptocurrencies.
No wonder attendees were mostly interested in bitcoin price fluctuations. They discussed block size debate’s effect on price, as well as that of conglomeration of mining pools and manipulations at exchanges, alongside with forthcoming reward halving.
Having covered issues of mining, the attendees discussed its profitability and price fluctuations caused by mining’s unrenumerativeness. Dmitri Voronin, a China-based expert, spoke about how many terahashes it takes to mint a single coin, and how much would it cost in terms of electric power and computation capacity.
Ukraine’s delegates recalled BitFury‘s powerful mining equipment manufactured in Ukraine. They also mentioned quantum computers, whose computation capacities would enable rewriting bitcoin’s blockchain from genesis block.
Ethereum, China, and Buterin in Russia
The conference paid specific attention to Ethereum and its smart contracts. The attendees discussed ETH’s price surge and its perspectives of growth. It seemed clear to them what Ethereum could provide in terms of self-fulfilling agreements, and how this sort of contracts could solve trust problems.
The event’s agenda also covered Proof-of-Stake usage in Ether transactions, which is an addition expected to become effective as of this November. It was announced that Ethereum intends to open regional agencies for CIS countries, which seemed to be good news for Belarus in particular, and former Soviet republics in general.
In the follow-up of smart contracts discussion, Alex Fork has once again announced that Ethereum’s founder Vitalik Buterin is going to visit Russia in late May. Apart from that, Fork told that Buterin was building connections with China, a country expected to be an outstaffing source for smart contracts development.
The topic became burning for coders, as new trends may bring them serious rewards. Alex also mentioned his recent meeting with QIWI developers who work on BitRuble project. He clarified that the project is completely different from Bitcoin.
Global issues of bitcoin legalization also popped to the surface. The attendees recalled Japan, where cryptocurrency has recently become means of payment. They also discussed possible Bitcoin’s ban in Russia, and Bitcoin Foundation Ukraine’s dismissal of bitcoin legalization bill. In this context, they mentioned Artem Tolkachev, Russian bitcoin community’s representative in negotiations with government authorities. He not only shouldered a duty of analyzing Russia’s prevailing legislation, but also promotes his own legislative initiatives on cryptocurrency with his law firm.
Andrei Dubetski, Bitcoin Foundation Ukraine (BFU) co-founder, reminded that bitcoin was primarily regulated by math and cryptography, and all relevant attempts on from regulators’ side will remain futile.
Summarizing the event, Mike Chobanyan spoke about bitcoin’s potential in fighting corruptive practices, and was immediately proposed to outstaff Belarusian president known for his anti-corruption eloquence (Lukashenko would hardly be willing to leave his kingdom, but everyone seemed to have liked the idea). Chobanyan also spoke about opportunities that may arise should bitcoin communities of former Soviet republics unite to form what he called ‘CryptoRuthenia’ (referencing Ruthenia, an ancient East Slavic state formation – FL). CryptoRuthenia, in his vision, is a group of epic heroes protecting regular users from problems with authorities. However, they’d better hire some horses in advance, otherwise they will have to stump it all the time.
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